OVL in Lanka

Vol 14, PW 16 (10 Feb 11) News in Brief

ONGC Videsh could soon be joining Cairn India as the only other Indian company exploring in Sri Lankan waters.

PETROWATCH learns OVL is asking Sri Lankan authorities for exploration blocks C1, C2 and C3 in the Mannar basin without the inconvenience of a tender. Unlike Cairn, however, OVL is benefitting from some robust lobbying from India’s High Commissioner to Colombo, Ashok Kantha, who is organising meetings with local oil officials.

Last month outgoing OVL managing director RS Butola approached Sri Lankan oil minister Susil Premajayantha, stressing ONGC’s four-decade experience in exploring the Palk Bay-Ramnad areas as the main driver of OVL’s interest in C1, C2 and C3. OVL is scheduled to send a delegation to Colombo shortly.

Cairn India is known to have shown interest in block C2 during a tender in 2007, but is today exploring the 3400-sq km exploration block SL 2007-01-001, which sits in water depths of 200 to 1800 metres, also in the Mannar basin.